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Problem-solving performance is correlated with reproductive success in a wild bird population
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2013 (English)In: Animal Behaviour, ISSN 0003-3472, E-ISSN 1095-8282, Vol. 85, no 1, 19-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although interindividual variation in problem-solving ability is well documented, its relation to variation in fitness in the wild remains unclear. We investigated the relationship between performance on a problem-solving task and measures of reproductive success in a wild population of great tits, Parus major. We presented breeding pairs during the nestling provisioning period with a novel string-pulling task requiring the parents to remove an obstacle with their leg that temporarily blocked access to their nestbox. We found that nests where at least one parent solved the task had higher nestling survival until fledging than nests where both parents were nonsolvers. Furthermore, clutch size, hatching success and fledgling number were positively correlated with speed in solving the task. Our study suggests that natural selection may directly act on interindividual variation in problem-solving performance. In light of these results, the mechanisms maintaining between-individual variation in problem-solving performance in natural populations need further investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 85, no 1, 19-26 p.
Keyword [en]
behavioural plasticity, fitness component, great tit, individual variability, innovation, Parus major, problem solving, reproductive success, string-pulling task
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-194753DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.10.005ISI: 000313573200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-194753DiVA: diva2:606486
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved

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